BEAUMONT, Texas — There’s only one undefeated Men’s Tennis team left in the WAC and that’s the Lamar Cardinals.
“They may be young, but these guys are fearless," said Tennis coach Scott Shankles. "They’re not going to bow down to anyone.”
The Cardinals claimed their first conference title since 20-17 with a four to three win over New Mexico State.
“These guys want to win," said Coach Shankles. "They’re willing to work hard. They want to get their rings. They want their championships. They want to go to the NCAAs like that’s what they want to do and they’re gonna make it happen.”
“We have been practicing so hard through all the year so, yeah, that was an incredible experience, but we don’t have to think a lot about this," said freshman Daniel Sancho Arbizu. "We have to stay focused and move it on for the next matches.”
The conference championship title was a goal the team had set for themselves at the beginning of the season, but like Coach Shankles said these players are reaching much higher.
“It was really important because now we have bye in the first round in quarterfinals of the tournament and we just have to win two more matches to go to nationals,” said Sancho Arbizu.
Ahead of Tournament weekend Lamar closes out its regular season against UTSA. Historically, the Cardinals have struggled against the roadrunners in a matchup that dates back to 1987. Lamar has a 4-26 all-time record against UTSA.
“It’s really preparation for the tournament and also it’s a good opportunity for us to try to win a bigger school who is in the rankings, so we are really motivated for this Saturday," said Sancho Arbizu.
This weekend the Cards look to protect their eight-match win streak before entering the WAC tournament as the number one seed.
“These guys they understand that we still got a long ways to go to get to the NCAA Championships," said Coach Shankles. "We’re gonna have pretty tough semifinals and if we make it through and get to the finals, it’s just gonna be a battle again.”
The Cardinals say they're facing this fight head on.
“We are ready for this Saturday and for the tournament of the next week,” said Sancho Arbizu.